SE Texas’ next generation of muralists take flight

Last summer, artist Maurice Abelman was offered a downtown alley to perfect his talents as a muralist. This opportunity has led to wall offers from other building owners.

On Thursday, Abelman started paying forward.

Abelman gathered with his graphic art students at Lamar State College in Port Arthur in the alley and invited them to choose their canvas from the bare brick spaces.

He then guided them through the process of transforming last semester’s final art project into larger-than-life spray paint murals.

It is a method of creation that was new to the three who came for the first day of wall work.

Second year student Chance Cooper and first year Alex Pradon and Lupe Lopez selected their spots. Lopez chose to brave a scaffolding to paint above the work already completed by Abelman.

They started by painting what Abelman called a “doodle grid” – randomly applying shapes, lines, and letters to a sample of the wall.

Abelman took a photo of the finished grid, then overlaid it with a transparent photo of their artwork in Apple’s Procreate program.

He created a template from which they could paint a preview of their work.

“Most professional muralists use projections of their drawings to accurately reproduce them on a larger scale,” said Abelman.

However, working outside during the day does not allow this technique. The scribble grid method provides a “frame of reference necessary to achieve the correct proportions and perspective,” he explained.

Within hours, the artwork digitally created last semester took on a new form painted on brick and mortar.

As they worked, Abelman offered advice on spray painting techniques – using shorter strokes to avoid losing paint in the windswept driveway; avoid drops in their pipes; fill with color and shading.

As students turned to graphic art genres – animation and comics for Pradon and illustration work in the music industry for Cooper – the introduction to murals opened their eyes to others. possibilities.

Lopez is still pondering his future in the arts – something in social media or animation, maybe.

“I know the graphics will get me where I want to go if I try hard enough,” she said.

On Friday, Abelman and his students will return to the alley and complete Thursday’s assignment, while others will begin their plays.

It’s an educational tool Abelman plans to continue with his upcoming students – an additional experience for their classes, but also a way to develop future muralists in the region.

“I have already received offers to do murals on other buildings” after the success of the lane, said Abelman. “Maybe I can have a team to help finish the job. “

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